Superior Education for Ages 3 to 12

Our Faculty / Staff

Our administration and staff have many combined years of Montessori education experience, which contribute to the excellence of the entire program at The Montessori School. All the teachers come to us with experience and/or college degrees in Education or related fields. In addition, each classroom has an AMS accredited Montessori trained teacher. Keeping excellent qualified teachers is a high priority for the school. Each teacher exhibits qualities of kindness, positive attitude, and high expectations for the students’ capabilities as set by Montessori standards.

The School has embraced team-teaching (co-teaching) from the primary environment forward, thus maintaining a target maximum 12 to 1 student to teacher ratio.

Years of general educational experience, rigorous training and at-level Montessori certification, experience, longevity in previous positions, and uncompromising devotion to the children are all criteria for appointment to the Montessori faculty. On-going professional development and institutionalized professional growth and development are an integral part of professional life at Montessori.









Jessica Hayes
Head of School

Ms. Hayes joined the staff of The Montessori School in May 2014. As a long-time parent and volunteer, the opportunity to lead the school was an exciting one. Ms. Hayes holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of the Ozarks. In December 2015, she received her certificate in Montessori Administration from the Houston Montessori Center. Ms. Hayes, with the Board of Directors, is responsible for the setting and overseeing the policies and procedures of the school. She works with the staff to insure authenticity and excellence in all of the school’s programs. About the school, Ms. Hayes says, “the students and faculty make each day exciting and fun. Children have the ability to do the most amazing things if adults will just let them.”

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Cristy Clamser

Ms. Clamser first became involved with The Montessori School over a decade ago when she enrolled her daughter in our primary program. Over the years, she was an invaluable volunteer and helper until, in 2011, she formally joined our staff as our Administrative Assistant. Today, Ms. Clamser serves as the school’s Administrator, responsible for all student accounts, the enrollment process, and all general administrative needs. Ms. Clamser has a degree in broadcast journalism from Buffalo State College and still freelances for local radio stations. She has two daughters and enjoys reading, riding bikes, and being outdoors.

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Katlyn Best
Lower Elementary Teacher

Mrs. Best joined the Montessori School of Fort Smith staff in August 2016. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. Mrs. Best is currently completing obtaining her Montessori Teaching Certificate in Lower Elementary through the Houston Montessori Center.









Cindy Core
Primary Director

Mrs. Core brings over 25 years of early childhood experience to our staff. She joined The Montessori School in 2000, holding degrees in child development and early childhood education from the Memphis Montessori Institute. Prior to Montessori, Mrs. Core was the owner and director of Wee Tigers Daycare in Charleston, Arkansas. Her favorite pastime is quilting and she also enjoys reading. In thinking about Montessori, Mrs. Core sums it up saying, “we could study a child from every angle and know everything about him from the cells of his body to the countless details of his every operation and we would still not perceive his ultimate goal, that is, the adult he is to become.” Mrs. Core is also in charge of our before school program as well as the school’s licensing with the Department of Human Services.









Christie Fancher
Upper Elementary

Mrs. Fancher joined The Montessori School as a primary teacher in 2003 after earning her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Arkansas Tech University. She holds an Early Childhood Montessori Teaching Certificate from the Memphis Montessori Institute and Montessori Teaching Certificates in both Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary from the Houston Montessori Center. Mrs. Fancher has been married for 14 years and has one child, Brooklynn. She loves reading, movies, sports, scrapbooking, drawing and is a self-professed ‘gaming geek.’ To put it simply, Mrs. Fancher loves Montessori “because we don’t have to follow some preplanned lesson guide that has no clue about what the children are capable of. Children are free to excel where they have strengths or hang back when they need to refine a skill.”









Christine Hines
Learning Specialist

Mrs. Hines joined The Montessori School in 2006. She has over 18 years of teaching experience to share with our community. She holds a masters degree in Elementary Education as well as her Lower Elementary Montessori certification from the Houston Montessori Center. In addition, Mrs. Hines also holds a Level 1 Certificate in Montessori Applied to Children at Risk (MACAR) through the Shelton School in Fort Worth. She and her husband of over 25 years have one daughter and one son. Mrs. Hines likes to read, garden and participate in Zumba exercise class. She also likes to spend time with her family and try new recipes. When describing Montessori, Mrs. Hines says, “My favorite thing about Montessori education is the individual student learning. Each child can research topics that are of an interest to him and explore subjects in science. I also think the multi-age groupings are beneficial to the child and teacher. The math materials the students use are only found in Montessori education.”









Erin McCarroll
Primary Teacher

Ms. McCarroll chose Montessori education for her children several years ago, innately understanding it was the optimal method for her daughter and then her son. After several years as an active, involved parent volunteer, Ms. McCarroll formally joined our staff in 2012 as an assistant in the Lower Elementary classroom. In 2014, she moved to the Primary environment and is currently enrolled at the Houston Montessori Center obtaining a certificate in Early Childhood. Her interests are reading, cooking, and spending time with her family. When it comes to Montessori, Ms. McCarroll loves to talk about the way children are given freedom with responsibility. She sees in her own children, and in the children she teaches, that empowering and respecting them as human beings is truly the best way. With that high standard of freedom, children learn to make responsible decisions, a cornerstone for becoming responsible adults.









Autumn Patton
Lower Elementary Teacher

Ms. Patton joined the Montessori School in August 2016. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith and a Montessori Teaching Certificate in Lower Elementary through the Houston Montessori Center.









Kayte Watts
Middle School Teacher

Mrs. Watts joined the Montessori School in August 2016. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Middle Childhood Education, with an emphasis on Math/Science. Mrs. Watts is the founding teacher of the middle school program. She is currently working on her Secondary Level Montessori Teaching Certificate through the Houston Montessori Center.









Shannon Wiley
Primary Teacher

Ms. Wiley originally worked in The Montessori School’s After School Care program. She graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Math. In 2015, Ms. Wiley joined the school staff full-time as a Primary teacher. She received her Montessori Teaching Certificate in Primary through the Houston Montessori Center in 2017.









Annie Yu
Primary Teacher

After many years of being a parent in the school, Mrs. Yu joined the Montessori School staff in November 2015. She holds a degree in Journalism from the Private Chinese Culture University in Taiwan.